Mark Hunt calls Dana White ‘idiot’ who stole from MMA to build the UFC
Mark Hunt seems to be one of the few fighters crusading against Dana White and the UFC to get MMA athletes better pay. But that doesn’t mean he’s mad at current competitors for not joining in on the fight.
Hunt (13-14-1) is in the middle of a legal battle against the promotion he called his fighting home for eight years. Following a 2016 loss to Brock Lesnar at UFC 200, it was revealed that the returning former UFC heavyweight champion failed multiple drug tests before and after their bout, but still was allowed to compete.
The bout result was overturned, however, it led Hunt to file a lawsuit against the promotion and its parent company. Alleging conspiracy to commit a crime related to racketeering, fraud, false pretenses, breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligence, and unjust enrichment. The case was dismissed by a Nevada court in 2019, but Hunt and his legal team successfully appealed the ruling and the revised case is ongoing with claims of fraud, battery, and civil conspiracy being the new focus.
Mark Hunt says a UFC belt worth ‘nothing’
Beyond the happenings in the courtroom, Hunt has been quite open about his hatred for his former employer and their top executive White, over how they treat and pay their talent. As he explained on a Monday appearance on The MMA Hour, the schism between him in the UFC has taken away his love of the sport, because he believes he fought with the goal of winning a UFC title. A title he now says is worth nothing since it does not give champions long-term financial security like it should.
“I don’t like watching UFC or fighting in general, because I know what it’s like at the top. I know what they’re fighting for, which is nothing. They’re fighting for nothing. I’m the world champion of what? Explain to me what you’re the world champion of,” Hunt said on the popular MMA podcast. “If you’re the world champion of boxing, there’s reality. You have made it to the top, you don’t have to worry about money, don’t worry about anything.
“There’s the goal to reach. Mount Everest. But in the UFC, you make it to the top, what do you get? Look at the champions. Don’t look at what I’m saying, look at the champions in the sport, what have they got? They’re sitting there complaining about money. You’re the world champion of nothing.”
Many UFC fighters on the way up to the top have complained about their financial struggles while being members of the roster. However, there have also been quite a few champions and elite talents — like current heavyweight king Francis Ngannou, Jon Jones, Nate Diaz, and Jessica Andrade — that have spoken publicly about their belief they are not paid commensurate with their standing as champions or top stars in the promotion.
Hunt: “I can’t tell fighters to join the cause. I understand their situation‘
Yet, fighters on the UFC roster have not banded together to form a union to gain more leverage when it comes to deciding the revenue split between the promotion and its athletes. However, although Hunt wishes fighters did unionize he understands why they have yet to make such a bold move.
“I can’t tell fighters to join the cause because they’ve all got bills and mortgages to pay. I understand their situation. It’s not up to them to just give up and say, ‘Aw man, I’m gonna come and support.’ The power that all the fighters have, can’t be beaten. If all the fighters got together and said, ‘I don’t want to fight for this company no more,’ there’s no UFC,” said Hunt.
“I’ve said this many years ago. This company thinks it’s got all the power and that’s what all these fighters have been led to believe, but if these fighters realized that they have all the power and all of them just need to say, ‘No, I want 50/50 for pay-per-views, I want the Ali act, and I want all these things,’ then things will change in an instant because without these fighters there’s no UFC.”
Hunt calls Dana White an ‘idiot’
The 47-year-old wants fighters to understand they have more power than they truly understand, and that they are the real driving force in MMA. Although he concedes White has legitimately built the UFC into a massive global brand, he says that the promotion’s done so by stealing from the sport of MMA and its athletes.
“That idiot Dana talking about, ‘We built this company.’ Yeah, you built the UFC. The sport, you’ve stolen from. You’ve stolen from the sport, from all the fighters,” said Hunt. “That’s the difference. There would have been another company that brought MMA up to where it is, because it is the ultimate in fighting combat. The problem is they’ve built the UFC up, but they’ve stolen from the sport.”
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